The Sharks could be operating under a new NHL collective bargaining agreement soon, and it might have quite an impact on the franchise's future.
The NHL and the NHL Players Association are nearing an agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding for a new six-year labor deal that includes guidelines for the return of the 2019-20 season, TSN's Frank Seravalli reported Saturday.
The MOU must be ratified by both sides before it becomes official, but the potential deal includes some notes that surely will affect the Sharks this offseason.
For starters, it appears the league's salary cap will be frozen at $81.5 million, and remain there until the NHL's hockey-related revenue gets back to $4.8 billion, which was the initial projection for this season before the coronavirus pandemic forced a suspension of operations on March 12.
San Jose ended the season with around $648,000 (per CapFriendly.com) in available space, and with contracts expiring for players such as Joe Thornton, Melker Karlsson and Aaron Dell, a frozen salary cap could make re-signing those the team wants to bring back difficult.
Seravalli also noted that minimum contracts will rise $50,000 for next season, increasing to $750,000. It will stay there for four years, before rising to $775,000 in 2024-25, and $800,000 in 2025-26. So, young Sharks players such as Dylan Gambrell and Stefan Noesen, who played on minimum contracts, now are in line for raises of at least $50,000 going into next season.
The Sharks will look to turn things around entering the first full season of this potential new CBA, as they just finished last in the Pacific Division with just 63 points. But it appears the new labor deal might complicate San Jose's plan in some aspects.